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How to Embrace the HR Digital Revolution

How to Embrace the HR Digital Revolution

In an economic up cycle businesses must manage increasing talent numbers. A large part of this talent management is now devoted to digital knowledge of both the HR individual and also the applicants. KPMG notes that 72 percent of CEOs surveyed believe that keeping up with new technologies is going to be one of their key challenges.

According to KPMG’s Global CEO Outlook survey, “A more stable economy is pressuring CEOs to focus more on growth than in recent years, with growth almost equal with operational efficiencies as the top focus for CEOs globally (i.e. 51 percent to 49 percent).”

Deloitte University Press offers insight in their article “Digital HR: Revolution, not evolution”. They describe a new model. “A new world for HR technology and design teams is on the horizon. Mobile and other technologies could allow HR leaders to revolutionize the employee experience through new digital platforms, apps, and ways of delivering HR services.”

Tracking, Sharing, Training

As employees move to mobile and cloud sources for professional and personal use, HR is being left behind. Talent departments and human resources staff no longer deal with large volumes of paper every day. Digitized files, online applications, mobile tracking, cloud-based sharing, and customized on-the-go training are more important now to HR teams. Josh Bersin at Forbes describes this digital shift, “Digital HR requires fluency with mobile apps, design thinking, video, behavioral economics and the use of embedded analytics.”

Deloitte reports that fewer than 20 percent of companies use HR mobile apps. That means that the remaining 80 percent of companies will likely be upgrading soon. Focusing resources on updating the talent processes of recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining will not be a self-contained venture. HR will need to be seen as a seamless part of everything an organization does.

Digital Baby Steps

Even in small companies, HR is pushing forward as employees use more mobile and cloud-based technologies in their daily lives. Some of these organizations are taking baby steps to include more digital features. Examples include:

  • Digitizing forms for online and mobile use.
  • Scanning and accepting paper hiring files such as transcripts.
  • Importing, analyzing, and charting data using Excel features such as PivotTables, linking and embedding tools, filters, Vlookup functions, and Sparklines.
  • Creating and making video training in the cloud and on smartphones.
  • Adding or making social/chatting features available in current software, such as Outlook (and personal email).
  • Setting up a more collaborative workflow using cloud-based Office products or software.
  • Linking with government and compliance websites to allow for a more seamless flow of data when reporting or gathering data.
  • Integrating all HR software to provide a more comprehensive view of talent resources.

Digital Shift

As companies embrace the digital revolution step-by-step, they need to remember to look at the whole picture of human resources and not just at departmental changes. Moving from a process full of papers to a streamlined online collaboration cannot happen overnight. The paradigm of thinking of HR as just a group or division in the company must transition into an idea of HR being fully integrated within every part of the organization. HR reporting and analytics will not just look at how many hours are worked or what the benefits look like, but will revolve around real business intelligence.

Transformation can begin with simple updates in practices and methods. Instead of inputting time on a piece of paper, hours will be entered in an online database or input using a mobile application. Access or another database is easy to design and maintain. Then, data can be analyzed in Excel and checked against benchmarking metrics. Document signing software will allow forms to be completed and signed online instead of needing to print, sign, scan and send. Even small adjustments like these can save hundreds of hours and can even reduce errors, significantly improving the company’s bottom line.

Small and Big Business Solutions

As corporations accept the paradigm shift to digitizing HR processes, HR will become more decentralized. HR practices will be embedded into every part of the business. Complete integration can happen in steps or by deploying full-scale people management software like Gusto (for small businesses) or PeopleSoft (for any size business). According to PeopleSoft, these talent management systems have several key benefits:

  • Higher employee satisfaction
  • Ability to manage a dynamic workforce
  • Increased administrator productivity
  • Streamlined HR processes
  • Ability to quickly make informed decisions


Coupling a talent management software solution with a great training program (using video, online, mobile and digital resources) can revolutionize organizational efficiency. Training can be setup for on-the-go employees who want to use a cloud-based smartphone application for easy access to learning and development. Education and decision making will be employee-driven—not corporate-driven—giving employees empowerment to grow their skills and abilities.

Digitizing HR is a complex concept for businesses that want to continue thinking of HR in a silo. HR will get smaller as a core process but will integrate and be embedded into all parts of the organization’s strategies, analysis, decisions, and business functions. Taking small steps or one giant step to get there is up to each company. Making modifications in the organizational structure to help recruit, hire, train, market, and operate digitally will fundamentally improve a company’s agility and flexibility with workflow and talent management.

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Angela is blessed to be part of two fantastic organizations. At Versitas, Inc., she is the Training Manager and manages the Versitas blog and social media. At Richland College, she is a full-time professor and program coordinator in the School of Business. Outside of the office, you will find Angela with her husband and her two boys, ages 7 and 3. She loves to walk, read, and spend time with her family.

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